Heart condition ‘a thing of the past’ for Cornal Hendricks as he runs out for Asia Pacific Dragons
HKFC Tens gets underway on Wednesday, with the South Africa winger playing under former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer
South Africa winger Cornal Hendricks is looking to put a heart condition behind him when he steps out for crowd favourites the Asia Pacific Dragons at Wednesday’s HKFC Tens.
It will be the first time the 28-year-old, who played on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for three years before earning 12 caps for the Springboks in 2014 and 2015, has played the 10-man format.
“My condition is a thing of the past,” said Hendricks, who played in the Hong Kong Sevens twice.
“I’m looking forward now to focusing on my career. I’m so happy that Heyneke [Meyer] called me to see if I was interested to play in the Tens and I’m happy to be on the pitch again.
“This is actually my first time playing Tens so I’m very excited. I played sevens for three years so I have experience of analysing or picking the space quickly, and I have a 15s background, so I’m going to combine the two and get into it.”
Former Springboks coach Meyer will lead the Dragons, arming himself with four assistant coaches as his side looks to regain the title they won three times under now Auckland Blues coach Tana Umaga.
Meyer will be joined by former South Africa fly halves Jaco van der Westhuyzen and Derick Hougaard, Tonga icon Hale T-Pole – who played in his second World Cup in 2015 – and Fiji’s Zac Labalaba.
The APDs will look to Hendricks and former All Blacks lock Isaac Ross to lead the charge on the field.
“Although it’s invitational sides, every single year it’s got stronger and stronger,” Meyer said. “APDs started off quite well, but everyone lifted their game so now it’s a very, very good competition and we know it’ll be tough.
“I think it’s going to be a great tournament. What I like about this event is the spirit of rugby and because you have players from different backgrounds in an invitational side.”
The APDs, champions in 2012, 2014 and 2015, will face A-Trade Overseas Old Boys, Australian side King’s College at UQ and hosts Natixis HKFC in pool C, while defending champions Penguin International take on Projecx Waterboys, Irish Vikings and Devil’s Advocate Silver Dragons in pool A.
Penguins come to Hong Kong with plenty of heavy artillery, with New Zealand Sevens players Joe Webber, Tone Ng Shiu and Lewis Ormond all ready to fire after missing out on the squad for the Hong Kong Sevens.
Kiwi flanker Johan Bardoul, who played Super Rugby for the Chiefs for the past two years, and England Sevens speedster Callum Sirker are also in the team as Penguins look to win the Bill Burgess Cup for the third time in five years.
Last year’s runners-up Samurai have again fronted with a strong line-up as they prepare to tackle Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles, UBB Gavekal and CRFA Gladiators in pool B.
England Sevens players Daniel Temm and Cameron Cowell return from the squad beaten in extra-time in last year’s final, while England teammate Oskar Hirskj-Douglas is also on board.
Rounding out the competition are the Classic Wallabies – boasting former internationals Wendell Sailor, Luke Burgess and Stephen Hoiles – Tradition YCAC , Kir Club Pyrenees and the GoCloudWifi East Africans in pool D.